Perhaps Tim Tebow just prefers to play professional baseball in his home state. Who would have thought three weeks ago the former Heisman Trophy winner would join the St. Lucie Mets in the Florida State League and play like a legitimate prospect?
On Thursday, Tebow hit a walk-off homer against the Daytona Tortugas in Port St. Lucie, the first game-ender since his high school days at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach.
“(The high school homer) felt pretty good, but this one is special,” Tebow said after the game.
Since his promotion to advanced Class A from the Columbia Fireflies in South Carolina, Tebow is on an 11-game hit streak and hitting .327. He was batting only .220 in the low Class A level when called up.
Keeping in mind Tebow is only 16 games into his tenure with the New York Mets affiliate in Florida, his level of play is still noteworthy. In addition to his batting average, he also sports an on-base percentage of .421. His three home runs in St. Lucie match the total he had in Columbia over 64 games.
In Columbia he struck out roughly 25 percent of the time he came to the plate. In St. Lucie, he has fanned 9 times in 55 plate appearances, or 16 percent, against tougher pitching.
Thursday’s opposite-field shot to left field ended the second game of a doubleheader and sent those remaining fans home happy. All three of his home runs have been to left.
Chants of “Tebow, Tebow, Tebow” could be heard as he touched home plate. For his part, Tebow acted like he had done it before, circling the bases with his head down and helmet still on in a slow trot. The obligatory Gatorade shower and mob dance at the plate welcomed his arrival.
“It was fun to celebrate with those guys,” he said after the game.
If he keeps this up, the Mets may look to give him a shot at the Double A level later in the season. While his ultimate goal is to play in New York, the next step gets him the right state. The Binghamton Mets in upstate New York are less than 200 miles away.
Whatever happens, this is beginning to get interesting.